Kai Chang pleased with return from injury
TRAVES SMIKLE walked away with the win in the discus at last Saturday’s JAAA All Comers meet at the National Stadium, but runner-up Kai Chang was the happiest thrower on the day. Chang scored his longest throw since he did knee surgery. Now, The...
TRAVES SMIKLE walked away with the win in the discus at last Saturday’s JAAA All Comers meet at the National Stadium, but runner-up Kai Chang was the happiest thrower on the day.
Chang scored his longest throw since he did knee surgery. Now, The University of the West Indies student-athlete is seeing his way forward and possibly to the World Championships in Budapest.
Chang got into the groove as the competition went on, landing his last three throws 62.75, 61.31 and 62.78 metres away from the circle.
“That’s the best I’ve thrown since my surgery. You know, coach always tells me ‘a nuh everybody pot ready the same time’, and I’ve practised not to watch another athlete’s preparation and focus on my own and I feel like, in doing that, I’ve maintained a certain level of consistency and aggression coming to compete today [Saturday] and I hope to maintain that going into the rest of the season,” said a happy Chang.
His personal best of 64.49 metres came months before his 2021 knee surgery.
With the school year at The University of the West Indies behind him, the Penn Relays College discus-winner is making gains.
“The moment when I finished with my exams and I could actually focus on being an athlete and not a student-athlete, I felt like my performances in training were very promising and my body was responding positively to the training and I’m now seeing some positivity here in the field, as well.”
He’ll need to breach 67 metres to qualify for Budapest.
“I definitely feel as if I can get the qualifying mark. I feel like this season has shown me a very positive outlook on my preparation,” said the 23-year-old giant.
“I feel like throwing 62 in the Stadium is a good indication of what I can do outside the stadium with the variability of the wind and the elements. So I feel I can get at least 65 outside and the more I throw and the more I compete for the rest of the season, I can build on that, and I can get much closer to that 67-metre mark.”
Jamaica now has three men in the top-10 of the 2023 performance list: Chang’s former high school rival Roje Stona, and his UWI-based training partners Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle.
Add 2021 Olympic finalist Chad Wright, 2021 World under-20 silver medallist Ralford Mullings, and Chang himself, and Jamaica is one of the foremost discus nations in the world.
The outlook is bright. While Dacres, Smikle and Wright are 29, 31 and 32 respectively, Stona, Chang and Mullings are 24, 23 and 20.
Chang is delighted.
“Definitely, it’s the Golden Age for Jamaican discus throwing right now. Jamaica is probably one of the best discus-throwing countries in the world in comparison to other main discus powers out there and I’m very happy to be in this generation and it’s very motivating to keep me in training and to keep me focused,” said Chang.